(Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Yom Hazikaron

Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, is a time to remember all those who lost their lives in struggle for Israeli independence as well as the soldiers who have died while serving in Israel’s armed forces. Victims of terror attacks are also remembered.

Yom HaZikaron is a very somber holiday, unlike ‘Memorial Day’ in some other countries. From the moment it begins at sundown on the first day until sundown the next day, all places of entertainment are closed. Radio and television stations devote air time to patriotic music or programs honoring fallen soldiers. Many high schools have a special memorial corner where photos of graduates who died during military duty or in terrorist acts are displayed. At the Western Wall, the Israeli flag is lowered to half-mast.

Just as on Yom HaShoah, the air-raid siren plays an important role in Yom HaZikaron. After sundown on the first day, at 8:0 0PM, a siren sounds for one minute and everyone in the nation comes to a standstill. Traffic stops. Conversations go silent. People stand motionless in the streets. The second siren sounds for two minutes the next day at 11:00 AM, after which prayers are said in all the military cemeteries.

The day after Yom HaZikaron is Israeli Independence Day (Yom Ha’atzmaut), and it’s a powerful statement that before Israeli independence is celebrated the country first remembers all those who have fallen during its struggle for freedom. Scheduling Yom Hazikaron right before Yom Ha-Atzma’ut is intended to remind people of the price paid for independence and of what was achieved with the soldiers’ sacrifice. This transition shows the importance of this day among Israelis, most of whom have served in the armed forces or have a connection with people who were killed during their military service.

There is hardly a family in all of Israel who does not have a relative or friend who has died in service of the Nation of Israel.

By: United with Israel Staff

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